Unmarried Fathers Rights California
Orange County Paternity Lawyer Explains What You Need to Know
The most important thing for an unmarried father to know is this: you do not have any rights to a biological child without establishing legal paternity. Your name on the birth certificate is not enough. Without legal paternity, you have no rights to see the child, you have no rights to make any decisions about the child, and you have no rights to stop the mother and child from moving away. How will California family law affect you, your partner and your children if you are living as an unmarried couple? Every situation is different; find out your legal options with a paternity lawyer. Orange County Family Law Associates helps people with a wide range of situations. We invite you to our office to find out what you should do next.
What You Need to Know About Raising a Child While Unmarried
Some unmarried parents think it is not necessary to establish paternity if the parents are living together. This is a mistake. In fact, when unmarried parents are on good terms, this is the best time to legally establish the child’s paternity.
- When the parents are married, the law automatically assumes that the married people are the child’s legal parents. If they are not married, the father must establish paternity. If he fails to do this, it can affect his rights in terms of visitation, custody and support. Additionally, the mother cannot receive child support from the father if she fails to establish paternity.
- There are two kinds of custody: legal and physical. Unmarried mothers will almost always receive primary physical custody of a newborn baby. However, unmarried fathers can and do receive joint legal custody of a newborn baby and visitation rights. Having joint legal custody means that the unmarried father will have an equal say regarding medical decisions, schooling, religion and extracurricular activities. Even if the mother receives sole legal custody and primary physical custody, a father still gets visitation, also called parenting time, with the child.
- Once you establish legal paternity, the mother cannot move away with the child over the father’s objection without leave of court. However, if you do not establish paternity, the mother can move away or deny visitation rights, regardless of the father’s objections. If you are an unmarried father and the mother plans to move with the child, see a paternity lawyer immediately. If a father does not act quickly and the mother moves, the father may have to establish paternity in the new state where the child resides.
Family Law Attorneys Guide Clients Through California Paternity Laws
Of course, there are exceptions and further details about these laws that might apply to your family. To find out more about how the law affects you specifically, call our law firm and schedule a case review. There is no cost to meet with us.